Pleuroptya ruralis belongs to the family Crambidae which, includes the so called grass moths. This is a large Family with 140+ species recorded in Britain alone.
A medium sized moth with a 26-40mm wingspan(1). Mostly a single brooded species from June – Oct (2).
It’s place in the Garden (Visitor/Lured)
The larva/caterpillars feed on the leaves of nettle, which they roll (also species of elm (2)). Therefore possibly resident in the garden on account of a few nettles here and there at the time of writing.
All stages of a moths development are subject to a wide range of predators. Including small mammals, birds and amphibians. Other invertebrates are also a major threat, including dragonflies, beetles, lacewing and wasps. As such whilst many view certain caterpillars as a pest, these small packets of protein help support a wide array of other beneficial and interesting species. Moths are of course interesting in their own right and are very welcome in the Garden.
How to encourage the species to your garden
Current distribution maps place this species across most of the UK, and as it feeds on a very common plant, Nettle, it is likely to be in most areas of the UK. As such luring it to your garden with a light or moth trap presents most small gardeners with their highest chance of recording this species. Allowing some nettles to flourish in the odd corner of the garden may provide an opportunity to make this species resident to your garden.
- UK Moths: Species Account Page. https://www.ukmoths.org.uk/species/pleuroptya-ruralis/adult/ – Accessed online 22nd January 2023
- Sterling, P & Parsons, M (2012): Bloomsbury Wildlife Guides: Field Guide to the Micro moths of Great Britain and Ireland. Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd